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With only a year to go until he takes over the reins of the HFA, President-Elect (2020-2022), Professor Andrew Coats (University of Warwick, UK), shares his thoughts and ideas for the future of the association. Communication and engagement feature high on the list of ways in which he thinks the HFA can move forward into a new decade.
Prof. Coats is taking the long view and he already knows how he wants the HFA to be seen at the end of his presidency. His vision is two-fold; he wants the HFA to be the world’s largest and most effective heart failure association for networking and he wants it to be thought of as a forum for a multidisciplinary management approach, what he calls “from molecules to populations to care”. He is equally certain of how this vision can be achieved; by building on the foundations of the association, namely the journals, the membership, the network of national associations and, of course, the annual Heart Failure congress.
Discussing plans for the first annual congress of his presidency—Heart Failure 2020 and the World Congress on Acute Heart Failure, 23–26 May, 2020, Barcelona, Spain—Prof.Coats is confident that it will attract a significant amount of international interest and anticipates that attendance may even approach record numbers. Now established as the largest heart failure congress in the world, he thinks that the 2020 congress will be an important step in reinforcing the HFA as a key player in the management of heart failure in Europe and beyond. “This global reach will be built to a large extent on the foundations of the National Heart Failure Societies, and there will be a strong profile of these societies in the programme,” he says.
While the details of the programme are still being discussed, Prof. Coats says that main attractions will include more data from the HFA Atlas project and results from major clinical trials in the areas of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and diabetes in patients with heart failure.
Join us in Barcelona for Heart Failure 2020 and the World Congress on Acute Heart Failure!
Prof. Coats is keen to ensure that during his presidency the HFA is communicating well and listening to its members. He wants to address the effectiveness of the association’s communications and engagement with other disciplines and with National Heart Failure Societies. “The HFA is well on the way to achieving this and has already done much of the heavy lifting,” says Prof. Coats. He identifies communication with other disciplines as his main priority and stresses the importance of breaking down the barriers between cardiologists and the other specialties—including pharmacists, nurses, technicians, social care workers and primary care workers—involved in the care of patients with heart failure. Educational initiatives are going to be very important in realising this aim but they will need to be conducted alongside programmes designed to foster engagement of individuals with the association’s plans.
Recognising the need to support all HFA members, Prof. Coats acknowledges that some groups may benefit from focussed assistance, and he wants to maintain and possibly extend this. Thus, the HFA has initiatives in place to make sure that it continues to offer as much help as possible to its younger members, the Heart Failure Specialists of Tomorrow (HoT), and the National Heart Failure Societies and Working Groups. A new and exciting undertaking concerns the recruitment of members and societies from developing regions, and initiatives in countries in the Middle East and from the former Soviet Union are underway. “This is one of the most important challenges—and opportunities—facing the HFA at the moment,” he says. It will not be a quick task, nor will it be an easy one. With barriers including communication, engagement and distance, there will need to be considerable effort and investment to ensure its success. However, Prof. Coats sees this initiative as being crucial to the long-term future of the HFA and of heart failure management internationally.
Considering what personal attribute will best serve him in his term as HFA President, Prof. Coats thinks that being an active listener, something he prides himself on, will be an advantage. He also identifies the need for continuous, internal critical review of the HFA Board’s performance, its workings, governance and communications, to make sure that it continues to be effective and efficient in its outputs.
360° feedback of the HFA Board on itself will help to maintain the HFA’s effectiveness and efficiency.
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